Thursday, June 22, 2006

Weekly Readings - 16 June 2006

National Archives Sidesteps Obsolescence. Image & Data Manager. June 7, 2006.
The Australian National Archives completed its digital document management tools. The application, called Xena, is an application that converts digital documents into two XML-based formats. This is an attempt to make sure that documents can be read in future. The two conversion formats are:
  • - Bitstream: a metadata-wrapped bitstream version of the record, which is a secure original copy of the record. It contains the original information, but requires access to the original hardware, operating system and application software for performance.
  • - Normalized version: the converted record in XML. This is not considered to be an original copy of the record as some information may be lost in the conversion.
Other applications include Quest, which creates and maintains links to other objects in the repository and their metadata; and Digital Preservation Recorder which captures an audit trail of the digital object through the processes of
  1. Transfer: Collection of information about the context of the data object, including the objects that were sent to the archives in the same transfer.
  2. Quarantine: Collection of information about the media, what virus definitions checked, and its checksum.
  3. Preservation: Recording conversion details of the bitstream and normalized archival data formats.
  4. Repository: Continued integrity checks and information about access requests for records held in the repository.

Preservation's Crumbling Future. Maria Blackburn. The Johns Hopkins Magazine. June 2006.

A large fallacy is that digital will take the place of books, but the number of books published every year is increasing. Paper books will always exist. And as more look to digital materials, traditional paper preservation efforts are being overlooked. "People misunderstood the limits of digital as a form of preservation." Many assume that digital is a way to preserve books, instead of a way to reformat content for access. "All preservation has to be balanced in terms of use." Efforts should be targeted at the materials that are of the most value to the users.

Digital cinematography. Scott Kirsner. Hollywood Reporter. June 13, 2006.

Producers, directors and cinematographers have reservations about digital cinematography, including the question of the long-term preservation of digital files. "With a negative, you have the security of something that is stored on film. What we don't know -- and won't know for some time -- is how well the digital masters survive."

Why keep downloads on the down-low? Victor Keegan. Guardian Unlimited. June 13, 2006.
Digital rights management (DRM) is a problem that threatens to tie up valuable assets and make them inaccessible to the public. The British Library is “deeply worried about the way restrictive digital rights contracts are being imposed”. There are materials in the library that should be made public, “yet less than one percent of its priceless archive has been digitised because of potential conflicts about digital rights and preservation.” The business models that have been used in the past, particularly with music, no longer make sense in the digital age.

PKI Implementation at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Nicholas Davis. EDUCAUSE Live! June 1, 2006. [PowerPoint] Audio portion.

An audio discussion of how the University of Wisconsin–Madison researched various PKI system models and established a method to issue digital certificates to encrypt and digitally sign e-mail and other sensitive information, and authenticate online identities. Also discusses topics such as comparing whether to build or buy a PKI system, integrating with other systems, success factors and lessons learned. Users like the ease of the system, and the ability to digitally sign emails. The system should be scalable. It is important to listen to the customers and find out what they want, rather than tell them what they should want. Many want to build their own PKI, but vendors, such as GeoTrust, can provide the same benefits. Administrators want to know the extended costs. Using a vendor can give lower upfront costs and a faster implementation. If the costs increase, they may choose to bring the implementation in house. There is enough to do that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel; don’t duplicate efforts, do new things. Keep it simple for users. Motivate the users, not obligate them. What matters most is what you do with PKI after a certificate is issued.

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